First Dash Bayou Tops the Field in the $49,200 Sam Houston Maiden Classic at SHRP

(Saturday, August 6, 2005) - Last night’s card featured the finals of the $49,200 Sam Houston Maiden Classic with eight of the fastest qualifiers from trials run on July 23. The field was reduced from ten to eight due to the late scratches of Penny Otoole and First On Call.

It was a great night for trainer Bobby Martinez and owners Tommy Hays and Joe Gutierrez, Jr. as First Dash Bayou improved upon his performance in trials and captured the first stakes of his career. Alfonso Lujan rode the son of First Down Dash and crossed the wire of the 350-yard sprint in :17.70. It was his career best performance, surpassing his time of :17.96 in trials as well as fastest qualifier, Cash Cartel, who topped all the qualifiers with a time of :17.81.

“He ran a pretty good race,” said Martinez. “He has a good owner and veterinarian in the paddock (Dr. Hays).”

Masters Okey stood patiently in the gate and had to overcome a bump at the start, rallying well to finish second.

“He ran a super race,” said James Brooks, who was aboard the three-year-old. “The outside horse (First Dash Bayou) hit me real hard at the first jump and knocked him off stride and probably cost him the race.”

Brooks qualified Masters Okey for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic and commented that the horse improves with each race. Trainer Monty Brooks agrees with Brooks and also has hopes to enter his gelding in the Dash For Cash Derby.

“He (Masters Okey) hurt his shoulder when he was a baby and he goes a little funny,” laughed Monty Brooks. “But he does seem to be getting better with each race.”

Miss Jelly Fish, who was ridden by Jarrod Deschamp for trainer Heath Taylor, was sent off at 18-1 odds and finished third. Post time favorite and fastest qualifier Cash Cartel came in fourth. Jose Vega was once again at the controls for trainer Dave Correll.

First Dash Bayou, sent off at 9-1, paid $19.40 to win. The 5-4 exacta returned $130.80 and the 5-4-1 trifecta paid $1,266.80. Completing the order of finish were Winning Charisma, My Dashing Is Easy, Wishin Three Ohs and Shake America.

First Dash Bayou, who broke his maiden in the trials, is being pointed to the Dash for Cash Derby at Lone Star Park.

“That is our plan, but we’ll have to see how he pulls up and we’ll go from there,” commented co-owner Hays.

Live racing continues on Friday, August 12 with the finals of the $48,240 TQHA Sires’ Cup Derby and will be followed by the $111,520 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity on Saturday night. The 2005 American Quarter Horse meeting will conclude on Sunday, September 11.

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